Archive for December, 2009

Old Linen

I’m one of those odd people who enjoys ironing. I especially like ironing old linen. Many years ago, I found a dozen double damask dinner napkins at an estate sale. They were yellow with age, their edges hand-stitched with tiny hems. Laundered to a gleaming whiteness, they grace my table at every holiday. Now they are washed again, spritzed with water, and wrapped in a towel, a method I learned from my mother and grandmother. I unroll the bundle, lay a damp napkin on the ironing board, hear the sizzle of the iron as it polishes the fabric until the medallion pattern shines. Once stiff, the linen is now soft in my hand as I fold and set it to air. There is a quietness about that stack of folded linen that speaks of history and tradition and pleasure in beautiful things.

The Bat

We made the acquaintance of a California Brown Bat yesterday. He had been hiding in a stack of five-gallon black plastic pots on the porch of my garden shed. Daughter-in-law Diana and grandson Timothy needed a pot for some project, and were startled to hear a loud hiss. Two pots down in the stack, there it was: chestnut brown fur, black feet, large yellow-brown fangs chittering angrily at being disturbed in the middle of the day. (Here’s  a picture by Tom Jolly of a similarly angry bat.) Everyone gathered round to look, an opportunity for a conversation with the grandchildren about the useful role bats play in the environment, and about the possibility of building a bat house to encourage more bats to the property. Very carefully, I lifted the pot and set it on its side in a shady place, so that the bat could escape to some more secluded place to resume its sleep.

Christmas Eve

The last of a wintry sun touches the leaves of the olive tree in my garden. The resident Anna’s hummingbird gathers the last beakful of nectar and comes to perch. A burbling of quail under the bushes. Peace on earth.

Welcome to my journal

First, a big thank you to my husband, Tony Eppstein of Monday Graphics, who designed my beautiful website and the theme for this journal. I will try to fill this space with language that fits its surroundings. My plan is to share a little about the projects I’m working on, such as the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and my poetry workshop at College of the Redwoods, Mendocino campus.  I’ll include observations about the natural world here between the forest and the sea on the Mendocino Coast and talk about what’s growing in my garden. Occasionally I’ll throw in a poem or two. I hope we can start some conversations about writing, and about living close to the earth.